Kevin Bell

Partner, Centigo UK

Post COVID-19: Reinventing Work and the WFH phenomenon

Aug 25, 2020 11:43:52 AM

While there would seem to be little to thank COVID-19 for it has forced us all, as business executives, to confront an unspoken truth. Since at least the dawn of the digital era, however you want to recognise that - be it the widespread use of the internet and the development of broadband; or the creation and proliferation of connected mobile devices in our commercial and domestic lives – we have never really needed to continue working the same old way we always have. We have all succumbed to one of the most basic failings of the human condition - the unconscious bias toward the maintenance of the comfortable norm in the sense of trudging each day to the office or factory and back while comprehensively failing to rapidly grasp the competitive advantage available to us from the advances in, and convergence of, all the technologies we have invented. So, just like the Luddites[1] of the 19th century, we must now re-consider our options lest we continue sleepwalking towards our own demise accelerated by the onset of the pandemic.

Emerging from COVID-19 is forcing us all to re-evaluate our business models and the way we work. There is never going to be a “one size fits all” model for the business of the future that wants to compete and win in the “new normal”. It is going to be, for each organisation and the executives running it, a very personal journey. Clearly, some organisations like those making items of large, complex capital equipment will always need appropriately configured workshop operations to allow that to continue, however they may be supported by back office staff executing WFH[2] or other remote support strategies. Others, like those in the software generation business for example, can probably with some thought and technological dexterity execute just as well with most staff based on remote or at-home locations. Consensus suggests, however, that most businesses will end up with a bespoke hybrid model somewhere between these two extremes.

Constructing a successful bespoke hybrid model will, however, not be as simple as purchasing a few more laptops to facilitate WFH, making a few process concessions and workarounds, and a scissors and sticky-tape exercise to slightly modify the existing company organisation chart. There are huge positive and negative potential implications for the business and the workforce. These range from the strategic, organisational, process, technical, regulatory, recruitment, employment, retention, health and safety, contractual/reward, legal, union and insurance issues to name just a few. Failing to acknowledge, prepare and plan for all these implications and mitigate the attendant risks will be to court an unscheduled fall in productivity, loss of faith by shareholders/stakeholders and an irrecoverable exposure to current and future contractual risks with suppliers and customers.

So, accepting that navigating your organisation towards this bespoke hybrid model in the “new normal” will be fraught with challenges and danger, how can you garner the necessary support and capability you need to minimise your risk and exposure?

“If all that we see are the scattered pieces of ‘what was,’ the story of ‘what is yet to be’ will never be told. If, however, we are able to envision the pieces as what they are now freed to be, the story of ‘what is yet to be’ will stand among the greatest ever told.”

- Craig D. Lounsbrough

Here at Centigo, we have 300+ consultants who are highly qualified, well trained and deeply experienced across a wide range of industries that can be deployed rapidly to help you put your business back to work in a safe, structured and compliant manner. Members of our team successfully helped many businesses, large and small, develop new target operating models, test, simulate and implement them and provide ongoing support throughout roll-out and into stabilisation. We can: -

• Work with your executive team to help create a range of pragmatic, actionable options for your new bespoke hybrid model.

• Help you select from the range of options available a suitable bespoke hybrid model that meets the needs of your stakeholders, workforce and customers.

• Simulate, test, evaluate and de-risk the new bespoke hybrid model and create a compelling business case.

• Identify, evaluate, report and help you mitigate the strategic, organisational, process, technical, regulatory, recruitment, employment, retention, health and safety, contractual/reward, legal, union and insurance risks.

• Evaluate your readiness for change and identify issues and weaknesses.

• Help you create a transition plan to implement your new bespoke hybrid model.

• Where you have currently no remote collaboration capability introduce you to “Skills” our market leading Collaboration as a Service (CaaS) digital technology platform to help you accelerate faster and with greater certainty into working better together remotely.

• Support you through implementation of your new working practices and into stabilisation with access to the necessary highly skilled and experienced professionals to de-risk your journey.

• After stabilisation be on hand to react swiftly to address emerging problems in the strategy, people, process and technology dimensions of your transition.

  • Every business is, of course, quite different and will need the structure above tailoring to meet your specific needs. Getting back to work will need the application of different skills and expertise depending on your market sector. To find out how Centigo can help you successfully return to competitiveness quickly and safely please feel free to contact us.

  • Contact Kevin Bell

[1] A protest movement against the adoption of new technology in the textile industry in Nottingham, England circa 1811-1816
[2] WFH – Work from Home

Tags: Business_Wellness Centigo_UK COVID-19 WFH